TWITTER FEED

August 29, 2014

where the buffalo roam

On Saturday, August 30, the Smithsonian’s National Zoo will bring back the American bison in a new exhibit and habitat.  Zora and Wilma are not only beautiful animals, but they also serve as an important reminder about conservation and the Zoo’s inception. In 1887, American bison wandered the National Mall, helping to bring awareness to the endangerment of the species. Two years later, Congress passed legislation to found the National Zoo, celebrating its 125th anniversary this year.

Bison roam around the Smithsonian Castle

Bison roam around the Smithsonian Castle, 1887-89

At Affiliations, we are wallowing in the excitement of welcoming these magnificent animals to Washington. So we decided to scan our herd of partners, to see where else the mighty American bison are roaming among Affiliate plains. We found a virtual stampede of bison content in Affiliateland!

– It seems appropriate to start in Wyoming, at the Buffalo Bill Center of the West. After all, it was “Buffalo Bill” Cody who offered the Smithsonian a herd of 18 bison in 1888. Painfully, the gift had to be refused for lack of space on the National Mall.  But today, you can find plenty of bison material at the Buffalo Bill Center in Cody. The Center’s museums house an impressive collection of art depicting “Nature’s Cattle,” including beautiful Audubon prints as well as Native artifacts made from the bison, and natural history specimens.

"Scout" at the Durham Museum in Omaha.

“Scout” at the Durham Museum in Omaha

– It was a Nebraska rancher who donated the very first bison to the Smithsonian’s collection, so it seems natural to travel on to Omaha to visit “Scout,” the beloved bison on view at the Durham Museum. At 7 ½’ high and 10’ long, this magnificent specimen helps to tell the important story of the Midwest’s history with the bison. As part of their bison interpretation, the Durham Museum uses the online resource Tracking the Buffalo from the National Museum of American History. Go ahead – take the site’s interactive test to guess what you could make from all the parts of the animal.

–  Some bison though, were revered beyond all that they could provide for Native people. A white bison is extremely rare, appearing once in approximately five million births. For this reason, these animals are considered sacred and possess great spiritual power to Native and non-Native people alike. Given this extreme rarity, where could you ever see one now?! The Montana Historical Society in Helena displays “Big Medicine,” a white buffalo who died in 1959. With blue eyes, tan hooves, and a brown topknot, there’s still plenty of reasons to revere the beauty of this extraordinary specimen today.

"White Medicine" on view at the Montana Historical Society

“Big Medicine” on view at the Montana Historical Society

– As rare as Big Medicine is, perhaps no bison has the hometown spirit of “On the Wind,” the massive bronze bison who greets visitors to the History Colorado Center in Denver. He’s been seen wearing bandannas when the stock show comes to town, a Broncos jersey during football season, and even a bike helmet during the recent Pro Challenge cycling race through the state. He’s also an important reminder of the stories told inside the Center about the historic relationship between bison and the peoples of the West.

– To travel even further back in time, check out the archeological remains of a gigantic Ice Age bison at the Denver Museum of Nature and Science. Excavated from the Colorado Rockies, this iconic specimen and its neighbors represent one of the most significant fossil discoveries ever made in Colorado.  How gigantic was it?  Twice the size of a modern bison!  How do we know?  It had a horn spread more than 7’ wide (compared with the 2 ½’ spread of the modern buffalo).

HistoryCObison

“On the Wind” in Denver reflects the community

– If you’re finding it hard to imagine the size of a modern bison without actually seeing one, the South Dakota State Historical Society can help you out.  They’ve devised a fun 30-page coloring sheet called How Big is a Buffalo. Bison make quite an appearance in the Society’s education kits, which include objects, lesson plans, worksheets and ideas for additional activities. The Buffalo and Plains Indians, Lewis and Clark, and Archeology kits are just a few that explore all facets of this great American species.

– Lest you think the Affiliate bison only roam west of the Mississippi, think again.  The Mashantucket Pequot Museum in Connecticut is currently displaying The Bison: American Icon exhibition, which explores “the dramatic changes that occurred to the bison and its habitat, and to the people who depended on it for their daily existence.” At the end of September, the Museum invites visitors to take the Bison Challenge – an outdoor activity that will test your speed, strength, and senses against the performance of a bison.  Good luck!

Bison: American Icon exhibit on view at the Mashantucket Pequot Museum

The Bison: American Icon exhibit on view at the Mashantucket Pequot Museum

As the song goes, “oh give me a home… “  It’s gratifying to see how many Affiliate “homes” across America celebrate the iconic bison, and that the Smithsonian will soon provide two of them a home in the nation’s capital.

How does your museum interpret the mighty bison? (We’re looking at you Idaho and Oklahoma)  Tell us your stories!

 

(Footnote:  “bison” and “buffalo” are often used interchangeably.  Culturally this is correct; scientifically it is not.  Technically, bison and buffalo are not the same animal. Click here to compare their differences.)

 

buffalomeThe author is a National Outreach Manager in Smithsonian Affiliations, and a long-time buffalophile.

 

August 26, 2014

coming up in affiliateland in September 2014

Affiliates are “going back to school” with gusto this September!

VERMONT
Smithsonian Affiliations staff will participate in a ceremony with Senator Patrick Leahy to announce our new affiliation with the Sullivan Museum and History Center, the first Affiliate in Vermont, in Northfield, 9.2.

grizzly

new book by National Air and Space Museum educator

MAINE
The Abbe Museum welcomes Tim Grove, educator at the National Air and Space Museum, for a talk and signing of his new book A Grizzly in the Mail and Other Adventures in American History, in Bar Harbor, 9.4.

ALABAMA
The Birmingham Civil Rights Institute hosts the Save Our African American Treasures program organized by the National Museum of African American History and Culture, in Birmingham, 9.6.

FLORIDA
Chef and expert on Native cuisine Richard Hetzler presents a lecture and cooking demonstration at the St. Augustine Lighthouse & Museum in St. Augustine, 9.6.

The Museum of Arts and Sciences presents Septembers with the Smithsonian, which includes a public lecture by Craig Saffoe, Curator of Big Cats from the National Zoo, 9.20; and a concert and student workshops with the Smithsonian Jazz Masterworks Orchestra, in Daytona, 9.27.

The Ah-Tah-Thi-Ki Museum opens SITES Ramp It Up: Skateboard Culture in Native America in Clewiston, 9.13.

TEXAS
The Perot Museum of Nature and Science hosts a workshop on Creating Collections with Young Children led by educators from the Smithsonian Early Enrichment Center, in Dallas, 9.11-12.

George Jacob, Executive Director, Ellen Noël Art Museum (Odessa) will give a lecture on the meaning of WPA era murals as part of The Art of Tom Lea: Preserving Our National Heritage symposium hosted by the Smithsonian American Art Museum in Washington, D.C., 9.24.

visitors enjoy Ramp It Up

Ramp It Up exhibition coming to Florida

ARIZONA
The National Museum of American History collaborates with the Arizona Historical Society and the Arizona State Museum to present the Let’s Do History professional development program for teachers in Tucson, 9.20, 27.

IDAHO
The Idaho Museum of Natural History opens SITES I Want the Wide American Earth: An Asian Pacific American Story exhibition in Pocatello, 9.20.

PENNSYLVANIA
Renee Anderson, textile conservator at the National Museum of African American History and Culture, will spend a week at the U.S. Army Heritage and Education Center, in dialogue with staff on conservation projects and future collaboration opportunities, in Carlisle, 9.22-26.

CALIFORNIA
The Riverside Metropolitan Museum presents Smithsonian Week in Riverside featuring talks by experts from the National Museum of the American Indian, 9.24-27.  The Museum also opens Cahuilla Continuum, an exhibition featuring three objects from the National Museum of the American Indian, in Riverside, 9.26

gems

curator Jeff Post talks gems in Illinois

NATIONWIDE
More than 75 Affiliates will participate in Smithsonian Museum Day Live!, offering free admission to their museums, 9.27. Find a list of participating Affiliates here.

ILLINOIS
The Lizzadro Museum of Lapidary Art hosts a talk by National Museum of Natural History curator Jeff Post on A Look Inside the Smithsonian’s Gem & Mineral Collection in Elmhurst, 9.28.

PANAMA
Smithsonian Affiliations staff will attend the opening ceremonies of the new BioMuseo when it opens to the public in Panama, 9.29.

December 3, 2013

Smithsonian X 3D: Revolutionizing how we see things

Recently, the Smithsonian unveiled the Smithsonian X 3D Collection and state-of-the-art 3D explorer. The Smithsonian X 3D Collection features objects from the Smithsonian that highlight different applications of 3D capture and printing, as well as digital delivery methods for 3D data in research, education and conservation. It was featured in a Center for the Future of Museums blog last week as well. Will it revolutionize the way we teach? Perhaps one day soon. But right now it’s certainly transforming the way we see the world one amazing object at a time!

I had a chance to explore the new 3D website and it’s definitely worth registering for an account. Getting an up-close look at the Wright flyer or watching a video describing how the scans were completed is worth it alone, and then add on the ‘tours’ for each object and your creative wheels start turning thinking of how you can share this with everyone you know. All objects in the explorer come with comprehensive guided tours. Each tour tells an interesting story about an object of the Smithsonian X 3D Collection. Tours are similar to PowerPoint presentations, but are always “live”. At any time during a tour, you can interact with everything you see in the viewer. It was pretty easy to get a handle on and after clicking around for a while, I had it down and was zooming in and out to look at details in the Wright flyer.

 

The coolest thing for Affiliates is the potential in the Educators section. In order to make our 137 million object collection more accessible, the 3D team came up with these teachable objects for everyone to explore. Some of our Affiliates are already using 3D technology for educational purposes. In fact, Dr. Herbert Maschner, Director of the Idaho Museum of Natural History, an Affiliate in Pocatello, Idaho, was a panelist in the recent symposium at the Smithsonian. He spoke about his museum’s work in “democratizing science,” scanning collections all over the world, resulting in data sets which can be used by researchers in a variety of disciplines.  The scans result in 3D or electronic files which can now be accessed from anywhere- even by teachers in classrooms, tying the subject matter into school curricula.

One of our National Outreach Managers, Laura Hansen, was able to attend the Smithsonian X 3D conference and said,

“This technology represents a wonderful opportunity for museums.  Models resulting from high resolution scans and printed on a 3D printer can give visitors and students access to objects in unprecedented ways.  Want to study mathematics? How about a scale model of the Parthenon to inspire students?  Wish you could handle a fragile fossil bone to see how an animal moved?  These scans and printed objects can help us think about collections in new ways, making museums repositories of information from the past that can literally shape our future.”

So take some time and explore the new Smithsonian X 3D Collection.  Just another idea from your friends at Smithsonian Affiliations to bring the Smithsonian to your neighborhood!

July 23, 2013

Affiliates in the News! July 2013

Congrats to these Affiliates making news! Each month we highlight Affiliate-Smithsonian and Affiliate-Affiliate collaborations making headlines.  If you have a clipping highlighting a collaboration with the Smithsonian or with a fellow Affiliate you’d like to have considered for the Affiliate blog, please contact Elizabeth Bugbee.

telluride

Telluride Historical Museum Executive Director Erica Kinias demonstrates the restored Pelton Wheel, which uses water to generate electricity. The museum was recently named a Smithsonian Affiliate. Photo by Heather Sackett.

Telluride Historical Museum (Telluride, Colorado)
Sharing History: Telluride Historical Museum named Smithsonian Affiliate
Telluride Historical Museum Chronicles Area Gold Rush to Ghost Town

South Dakota State Historical Society (Pierre, S.D.)
Museum of State Historical Society to Host Live Smithsonian Webcast on July 20
State Historical Society offers free videos

Mennello Museum of American Art (Orlando, FL)
‘Earl Cunningham’s Everglades’ at Mennello Museum

Kentucky Historical Society (Frankfort, KY)
Historical Society Joins Smithsonian Family
Kentucky Historical Society Now a Smithsonian Affiliate
KHS Set To Announce Smithsonian Partnership
Kentucky Historical Society forming affiliation with Smithsonian Institution

Elvis on the Southern Railroad between Chattanooga and Memphis, Tenn. July 4, 1956. © Alfred Wertheimer.

Elvis on the Southern Railroad between Chattanooga and Memphis, Tenn.
July 4, 1956. © Alfred Wertheimer.

Senator John Heinz History Center (Pittsburgh, PA)
History Center Exhibit explores Pennsylvania’s impact on the Civil War
Heinz History Center exhibition highlights Pa. role in Civil War
Center brings big guns to Pa. Civil War exhibit

Fort Worth Museum of Science and History (Fort Worth, TX)
Elvis in a history museum? Fort Worth photos are a swivel-hipping hit
Hanging Out with Elvis in Fort Worth
‘Elvis at 21’ exhibit at Fort Worth Science Museum proves interesting even for non-fans
Elvis at 21 delves into the puzzling nature of sex appeal, charisma, and intimacy

Berkshire Museum (Pittsfield, MA)
Berkshire Museum now a Smithsonian affiliate
Berkshire Museum becomes Smithsonian Affiliate, First Museum in Western MA to earn designation
Berkshire Museum named affiliate of Smithsonian Institution

David Ward of the National Portrait Gallery discusses a painting by Roger Shimomura.

David Ward of the National Portrait Gallery discusses a painting by Roger Shimomura at the Japanese American National Museum.

Japanese American National Museum (Los Angeles, CA)
A Self-portrait of Asian America: Smithsonian co-presents art exhibition at JANM
Seven citizens, seven stories: the performance “fighting for democracy” heads from Philly to DC
May Issue: First Asian American Exhibit Debuts at the Smithsonian

Schiele Museum of Natural History (Gastonia, NC)
Stay at home safari exhibit takes guests on tour of wild kingdom

Idaho Museum of Natural History (Pocatello, ID)
Digital Specimens

Miami Science Museum (Miami, FL)
2013 Smithsonian Online Education Conference Series Presents Two Sessions on Astrophotography

Mashantucket Pequot Museum (Mashantucket, CT)
Ramp It Up! Skateboard Exhibit Moves to Pequot Museum

skateboardexhibitbanner

July 18, 2013

coming up in affiliateland, July-August 2013

Spend your summer at a Smithsonian Affiliate! Check out these events in your neighborhood in July and August.

MAINE
Kevin Gover, National Museum of the American Indian and Harold Closter, Smithsonian Affiliations, attended the public announcement of the Abbe Museum as a new Smithsonian Affiliate in Bar Harbor, 07.05.

Gabrielle Tayac (Piscataway), National Museum of the American Indian curator of the IndiVisible exhibit will give a public lecture on the similar histories of African-Native Americans and Acadian/Wabanaki relations at the Abbe Museum in Bar Harbor, 7.10. 

FLORIDA

Lindsay Bartholomew, science curator at the Miami Science Museum, presented as part of the Smithsonian Center for Learning and Digital Access online webinar, Do It Yourself Astrophotography:  Applications for the Classroom and Beyond, along with Mary Dussault, Smithsonian Astrophysical Observatory, in Washington, D.C, 07.10.

MARYLAND
The B&O Railroad Museum collaborated with the Smithsonian Science Education Center for a Science Education Academy for Teachers workshop, in Baltimore, 07.10.

Warren Perry, National Portrait Gallery curator, will guest jury the exhibition Humor Me! at Annmarie Sculpture Garden and Arts Center, in Solomons, 08.07.

COLORADO
National Outreach Manager Aaron Glavas will be speaking at the public announcement of the Telluride Historical Museum as a new Smithsonian Affiliate in Telluride, 7.29.

IDAHO

The Idaho Museum of Natural History will host the Smithsonian Institution Traveling Exhibition Service (SITES) exhibit Native Words, Native Warriors in Pocatello, 07.20.

MISSOURI
The American Jazz Museum will host SITES’ American Sabor: Latinos in U.S. Popular Music, in Kansas City, 08.01.

MASSACHUSETTS
The USS Constitution Museum will host a teacher workshop featuring a lecture by Sidney Hart, Senior Historian from the National Portrait Gallery, in Boston, 07.26 and 08.09.

NATIONWIDE
Ten Affiliates are hosting student interns as part of the Smithsonian Latino Center’s Young Ambassadors Program, through 08.02—Adler Planetarium and Astronomy Museum, Fort Worth Museum of Science and History, Museo de Arte de Puerto Rico, Musical Instrument Museum, California Science Center, Museum of Latin American Art, Chabot Space and Science Center, Miami Science MuseumMuseum of Flight, and the International Museum of Art and Science.

Four Affiliates are participating in a Smithsonian EdLab teacher workshop, Connecting Classrooms, throughout July and August —the South Dakota State Historical Society in Pierre; the International Museum of Art and Science in McAllen, Texas; the Museo de Arte de Puerto Rico in San Juan; and Bisbee Mining and Historical Museum in Arizona.

LAST CHANCE! See these exhibitions in your community before they close!

CONNECTICUT

The SITES’ exhibit Ramp It Up: Skateboard Culture in Native America closes at the Mashantucket Pequot Museum & Research Center, in Mashantucket, 07.21.

TEXAS
Within the Emperor’s Garden: The Ten Thousand Springs Pavilion exhibit closes at the International Museum of Art and Science, in McAllen, 08.18.

MAINE
SITES’ exhibit IndiVisible: African-Native American Lives in the Americas closes at the Abbe Museum, in Bar Harbor, 08.04.

 

Privacy

site designed by - ivey doyal